549 – Sunday 27th November 2016: Cadiz
Cadiz – free overnighting on a vehicle packed seafront….nice beaches for walking – and a stroll around the town – Moorish influences – lots of bodies surfing and boogie boarding – not for us and definitely not for doggyboarding!
Glasses of vino blanco and tapas by a very warm cafe … nice quiet night when the traffic died down.
The view of old Cadiz a few metres from our parking. The dots in the water are surfers and body borders … all wearing wet suites! Cadiz is picture perfect.
J and Oscar kept cooling off in the shade.
We’d stopped off for another glass overlooking this beach. The young men had a guitar and were crooning some lovely harmonies.
‘Not guilty’ look?!
550 – Monday 28th November 2016: Rota
K bought some Oscar food – our special hound is on an 80/20 grain free diet and the nearby pet store stocked some – yay; Oscar will be able to eat for at least a month more! He also tried on a waterproof jacket … in keeping with his ‘girl’s blouse’ personality, it was shiny black plastic with a red trim – very fetish … sadly he is so stocky the belt would not go around his middle.
Our van exit might have been difficult – we were sandwiched tightly between a scooter and a car – but thankfully, the scooter had moved just in time and Jez has a tight turning circle. Off we went to our next adventure. En route we had blowy beach walk at El Puerto de Santa Maria – one of the Sherry towns. The parking was right on the beach and looked perfect EXCEPT there were no services and our toilet was now full. We discussed options … could we manage without using the toilet … common sense and modesty prevailed. Can’t stop here then … onto Rota where there are motorhome services.
On our arrival at Rota, K did a van internal cleaning and Oscar and I cleaned the van alloys. Our kind Liverpudlian neighbour helped me to check the engine oil level. We met Sarah and Mac – and Rockydog! Something clicked immediately between us – and post-prandial drinkies were arranged for 8:00 pm. Lots of chats and some few glasses of vinocollapso – and lordy lordy – K and S discovered they both play Crib (and have husbands that won’t) – arrangements were formalised for the next evening by a bilateral treaty…. we’re stopping here another night then!
Somnovinoque ensued around our two vans – until the am…
551 – Tuesday 29th November: Bike Ride and CRIB
Somewhat miraculously, we dragged ourselves out to run after a lie in at goodness knows what time – 10:00/11:00 am… the running had a restorative effect. Clune brekkie and we had planned to have a walk into the town – when our new friends M and S (M&S?) offered us the use of their bicycles – kindness personified! They even suggested they would Oscar-sit for the duration – a new adventure for Oscardog. We cycled off (not looking back) and had a wonderful ride along the beach promenade and lunch in the town square. See photos of K’s lunch – one of the best she has had in Espana…
Revoltos! Honestly, that’s what it’s called. Scrambled eggs, with onion, topped with a caramelised slice of goats cheese, marmalade toasts and salad – all drizzled in an unctuous Balsamic … YUMMY. Free pudding 🙂 And yes, that is a hair of the dog Sherry – an Olorosso Dulche.
Our lunch took place in a pretty square to the tickle of a fountain … very warm 🙂
Sarah and Mac … comparing wild camping spots.
Rockydog … we would happily have had him for Doggy Day Care … permanently.
On our return, we collected a now much animated Oscar from Doggy Day Care … he’d been quiet and just lay under a neighbouring van. Good to know … we will start leaving him more often now.
The much planned crib game took off at about 5:00 pm – accompanied by glasses of sherry – how very British – we didn’t have cucumber sandwiches – not cricket bat in sight, either. Crib continued post-prandial again in the MS and Rockydog’s van – much hilarity and lots of shouts of “and one for his knob!” Crib lovers will know that this has nothing to do with the male appendage – but the ladies shouts were so vigorous that Mac and I wondered??? A bit less vino than the previous night was a good idea …. we managed to sample some Muscatel, Tio Pepe and then the remnants of a bottle of Pedro Ximinez.
Oooer …. what shall I discard?
K won one, Sarah won the next hand … and then the decider was an edge of the seat game, but it went to Sarah … most excellent fun.
552 – Wednesday 30th November: Sanlucar de Barrameda
We were all sad to leave Rota and our new friends – we all hope to meet again – “Hasta Pronto” indeed…. Probably on our Scottish summer tour.
Onto Sanlucar de Barrameda – we squeezed Jez into the last official parking pitch – of about 12 vans. Off to town we went to explore. Sarah had announced to Mac that she would go dry for the rest of the month … K had nobly risen to the challenge … it was only one day and best to start with an achievable target! Now when in Sherry country – you must (?) drink the local produce, don’t you know, readers? Noble ambitions out of the window. We rose to the sampling task manfully/womanfully. Two local Sherries – Manzanilla, consumed, followed by a bun to soak it up, followed by one in another bar on the way home … we both needed the toilet was our excuse! How’d you do Sarah?
Manzanilla – very light and dry, like Tio Pepe.
A really pretty town square with lots of different architectural styles.
553 – Thursday 1st December 2016: A BIG ‘Grey Gappers’ Booze Day
It rained during the night so no morning running for us. A sherry tour was identified for 11:00 am – Oscar had to stay in the van for 3 hours, another first-ish for him. Early for the tour, K got chatting to some bloggers she has been following – thegreygappers.co.uk. Karen from London and David from – Foxrock in Dublin – a few miles from my home in Dun Laoghaire! Small planet? Excellent tour, although the guide’s English was superb, it was heavily accented and meant we only got the gist of her explanations. Photos again – we loved the cellar known as “The Cathedral”, which is where the Manzanilla is made. It has earth floors under the barrels, cool winds in one side and warm winds in the other …. the perfect conditions to make the Manzanilla. In another cellar, the floors were stone and as the castle backed onto it, there were no windows for the warm / cool air combo. This wine here was made in exactly the same way, but not having the perfect conditions for Manzanilla, it produced only a Fino! The whole of this cellar was bought up by Tesco and sold as their Finest Fino. Interestingly, the Barbadillo Sherry house is still family owned. And retired staff have an area where they congregate and drink … free wines / Sherries ….
Our tour guide seemed to warm to our little group and produced a few extra bottles for us to try. We started with dry wine, dulche wine, Manzanilla, Cream … sparking and finally a EUR36 bottle … think I may have missed a couple too! Our guide explained how she gives people that are new to Manzanilla their first taste in a wine glass, as against a Sherry glass … we got to compare and it DOES taste and smell different. Even the viscosity seemed different … try it at home.
By now it was all of about midday and one was then let loose in the shop … and we bought some more Sherries for a taste test with the Aged P’s. This was a mark of things to follow… No prizes for guessing what happened next – so no need for answers on a postcard! Lunch with D and K – once we had liberated Oscar. He was patiently watching out for us perched on the driver’s seat. Sherries served at Il Colloseo restaurant near Jez – K and D had biked into town from their bivouac some kilometres away… Lunch started at about 1:00 pm and lasted for about 3 weeks, it seemed! Hugely enjoyable conversations – David was baptised in UCD church where my parents got married – more coincidences – D had a record shop (in the good old days of vinyl) in Dundrum – around the corner from Olivemount Road where I lived as a child – Amelia – you will remember our home there. Post lunch drinks continued in our van until about 8:00 pm – our new friends bravely biked back in the dark to their home – we knew Karen wasn’t looking forward to the journey – but they messaged us when they arrive back safely…
A brief walk for Oscar – we were abed by 8:30 pm!!! When did that ever happen before – not since childhood, methinks… there is a bit of a child in all of us. K: since the double ’ 3′ afternoon in Nijar for me!
One of the smaller lorries bringing the ‘must’ in from the country. The grapes are picked by ‘hoards of hoary handed expert pickers’ – quote from the small museum – try saying that fast after a couple of Sherries!
Barrels are not replaced; one is on its side being repaired. The wood is American White Oak and used to be used as ballast on ships coming from the States. To get up the river by Sanlucar, they off-loaded this and the sherry houses ‘harvested’ the free wood.
The Manzanilla Cathedral.
The wine has a 9 stage rotation – wine is taken from a newer batch and added to an older, whilst not disturbing the yeast wall between wine and air. The movement of wine from one barrel to another used to be done by a pipe and a man who had to suck on it and swallow a little each time … day in day out. Wonder how their livers coped? This octopus machine replaced the men; multiple tubes for automating the moving the wine from one barrel to another.
Our guide – she joined us for a tasting when the EUR36 bottle came out.
This pic pretty much says it all …